On 27th November 2017 the public hearings commenced on Child Sex Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church and continued until 15th December. The first case study examined the English Benedictine Congregation including schools run by the congregation of which Downside is one. The Inquiry have now published a report on their findings which can be accessed here.
We would like to reiterate our sincere and unreserved apology to all victims and survivors of sexual abuse suffered as a result of the actions of some within the Downside community. The Abbey fully acknowledges the serious failings and mistakes made in both protecting those within our care and responding to safeguarding concerns. We have reflected deeply and will continue to listen with the ear of the heart going forward to ensure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated.
Downside Abbey welcomes the report and would like to take this opportunity to thank the Inquiry and the brave victims and survivors who gave evidence to the Inquiry and to whom we have listened carefully and humbly. The School apologises unreservedly to every child who suffered sexual abuse whilst in our care. We deeply regret the past mistakes and are committed to providing effective and meaningful support to former pupils who are victims and survivors of abuse. In the first instance contact the Safeguarding Officer of Downside Abbey, a lay person, who will be able to guide the process.
The Inquiry process has provided an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past and look forward with safeguarding at the heart of everything we do. Since Downside representatives gave evidence to the Inquiry in November 2017, there have been a number of developments in relation to safeguarding at Downside School. Use this link to find out more.
We are working towards a clear separation between Downside School and Downside Abbey which we hope to complete by the summer of 2019. Members of the Monastic Community no longer hold key positions of authority in the School which is now run by a lay Chair of Governors and a lay Head Master.